By Kevin Stoda, on-line (and tongue & cheek) candidate for Democratic and Republican parties for President of the United States
Last week, 18th of February 2008, I picked up the International Herald Tribune and noticed that the main IHT editorial was entitled: “Foreign Policy Questions for the Next President”. The editorialists wrote:
“President George W. Bush's mismanagement reaches far beyond Iraq. He has torn up international treaties, bullied and alienated old friends, and enabled old and new enemies. Before Americans choose a president they will need to know how he or she plans to rebuild America's military strength and its moral standing and address a host of difficult challenges around the world.” (p.8)
In all, the editorialists posed an in-exhaustive list of 11 questions for the USA presidential candidates.
The major question was obviously how the incoming president plans to handle the disastrous” ongoing war in Iraq.
The other foreign policy questions concern (1) America’s international leadership, (2) China, (3) Russia, (4) Iran, (4) North Korea, (5) the Middle East, (6) defense spending, (7) non-proliferation, (8) terrorism, and (9)American policy on use-of-force in the near future.
Since my campaign is a campaign of ideas and substance, I will try to answer these poignant foreign policy questions from the dining room table of my apartment in Kuwait, which overlooks the Persian (or Arabian) Gulf, i.e. where muh of the world’s oil passes through on any one day.
First of all, besides being a progressive evangelical candidate, I need to note that as far as political science and research goes, I am a cognitivist—i.e. not a neo-con, conservative, neo-liberal, liberal, nor extreme left- nor right-winger.
Cognitivists don’t simply define global relations in terms of who has might as realists, neo-cons, conservatives and right wing hawks do.
Nor do cognivists assume the existence of potential creation of a global new order in terms of liberal political-economic theory.
Cognitivists come from both camps as well as the dated camps of dependency and interdependency theory. As well, they look much more at how the rules of the game or perceived rules of the game effect how international affairs are conducted.
In a nutshell, Cognitivists are holistic in how they deal with international affairs and approach domestic politics.COGNITIVISTS AND REGIME THEORY
Cognitivists define regimes—whether these regimes are a single government, such as the USA or Russia, or an international regime, such as the European Union, NAFTA or the United Nations— not as simply state actors but as regimes consisting of how the rules of the international affairs are played in and cross societies where the regime is present. They also look at the social-civil, economic, developmental, and political forces under lying the actual behaviors of political actors and forces.
This means that regulations and acceptable behavior as defined (and carried out) by participants in a regime have just as much importance as who has the most money, weapons or propaganda instruments on hand.
This means that in terms of leadership on the world stage, any country, such as the United States must recognize what the acceptable rules of the game of international relations are somewhat stable and can usually only be changed or evolved over time.
Second, if change is needed in the regime and how the regime participants function, change is navigated and negotiated—but never demanded in the manner that a 3-year old demands his favorite toy or “desire of the day”. It is this form of U.S. foreign policy of the last decade that America must rid itself permanently. It is simply inappropriate and unhelpful for a superpower to be wandering about like a bull-dozer in a china warehouse.
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